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Last Updated July 11, 2024 @ 11:06 pm

Torch On Membrane Waterproofing System: The Proven Method for a Watertight Structure

Updated on August 8, 2023


Torch On Membrane (TOM) is a widely used roofing system that offers exceptional durability and waterproofing capabilities. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the basics of TOM, explore its installation process, highlight the advantages it offers, discuss maintenance and repair procedures, and address frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, you will have a thorough understanding of TOM and be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions for your construction projects.

Understanding the Basics of Torch On Membrane

TOM is a type of roofing membrane that consists of a modified bitumen layer with a polyester or fiberglass reinforcement. This combination provides excellent strength, flexibility, and resistance to weather elements. The membrane is installed using a torch to heat and melt the bitumen, creating a secure and watertight seal.

Brief History of Torch On Membrane

TOM has a rich history dating back to the mid-20th century when it was first developed as a waterproofing solution for flat roofs. Over the years, advancements in technology and materials have led to the optimization of TOM, making it a popular choice in the construction industry today.

Importance of Torch On Membrane in Construction Projects

TOM plays a crucial role in construction projects by providing a durable and long-lasting roofing waterproofing solution. Its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, prevent water infiltration, and offer energy efficiency makes it indispensable in both residential and commercial buildings.

Exploring Torch On Membrane Installation

Installing TOM requires careful preparation, adherence to safety measures, and a step-by-step guide to ensure a successful outcome.

Pre-Installation Preparation

Surface Inspection and Preparation

Before installing TOM, it is essential to thoroughly inspect the surface to identify any defects or structural issues. Any existing debris, loose materials, or damaged areas should be cleaned, repaired, or replaced to ensure a smooth installation process.

Material Gathering and Equipment Checklist

To begin the installation process, gather all the necessary materials and equipment, including TOM rolls, primer, bonding agent, propane torch, safety equipment, and measuring tools. Having a prepared checklist helps ensure that no crucial items are missed during the installation.

Safety Measures during Installation

Maintaining safety during the installation of TOM is paramount to prevent accidents or injuries. Adhering to fire safety regulations and using personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial.

Fire Safety Regulations and Precautions

TOM installation involves the use of an open flame, making it essential to follow fire safety regulations, obtain necessary permits, and have fire extinguishing equipment readily available. Additionally, ensure that the surrounding area is clear of flammable materials and that all safety protocols are followed rigorously.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements

Installers should wear appropriate PPE, including flame-resistant clothing, gloves, safety goggles, and footwear. This ensures protection against burns, melting material, and other potential hazards associated with the installation process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Torch On Membrane Installation

Following a systematic procedure is key to a successful installation. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing TOM:

Applying Primer and Bonding Agent

Before roll application, a primer should be applied to the cleaned surface to enhance adhesion. A bonding agent is then applied to the surface and allowed to dry, ensuring a strong bond between the TOM and the roof.

Torch On Membrane Roll Unrolling and Positioning

TOM rolls are laid out on the prepared surface, starting from one end and working towards the other. It is essential to position the rolls accurately and leave sufficient overlap between each row for effective waterproofing.

Heating and Bonding Process

Using a propane torch, the bitumen side of the TOM roll is heated until it becomes pliable. This enables the installer to bond it firmly to the underlying surface, ensuring a strong and secure attachment.

Overlapping Techniques for a Watertight Seal

Each successive TOM roll is overlapped with the previous one, typically by a minimum of 75mm. This overlapping technique helps create a watertight seal, preventing water penetration and enhancing the longevity of the roofing system.

Ensuring Proper Edge and Detail Treatment

Special attention should be given to the edges and details of the roof, such as vents, corners, and protrusions. Proper edge treatment and the use of appropriate flashing materials are essential to maintain the integrity of the roofing system and prevent water ingress.

Advantages of Torch On Membrane Systems

TOM offers a range of advantages that make it a preferred choice for roofing projects:

Enhanced Durability and Weather Resistance

TOM's composition, including the modified bitumen layer and reinforcement, imparts exceptional strength and durability. It can withstand various weather conditions, including heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures, and UV exposure, ensuring long-lasting protection for the building.

Seamless Waterproofing Solutions

TOM's torch application method creates a seamless roofing system, greatly reducing the risk of leaks and water infiltration. The absence of joints or seams provides uninterrupted waterproofing, making it highly suitable for flat or low-slope roofs.

Energy Efficiency and Thermal Insulation

The inherent properties of TOM, such as its reflective surface and insulation capabilities, contribute to energy efficiency. By reducing heat transfer, TOM helps regulate temperature within the building, leading to potential energy savings.

Flexibility and Adaptability to Different Roofing Designs

TOM is a versatile roofing system that can adapt to various architectural designs and structures. Its flexibility allows it to conform to irregular shapes and contours, providing a customized solution for complex roof designs.

Longevity and Cost-effectiveness

With proper installation and maintenance, TOM has a significantly long lifespan, outperforming many other roofing systems. This longevity, coupled with its reasonable initial installation cost, makes it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Torch On Membrane Maintenance and Repair

To ensure the continued performance of TOM, regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial.

Regular Inspection Procedures

Identifying Signs of Degradation or Damage

Regular inspections should be conducted to identify any signs of membrane degradation or damage. Look for cracks, blisters, or signs of wear that may compromise the waterproofing capabilities of the system.

Maintaining Drainage Paths and Gutters

To prevent standing water and potential damage to the TOM, it is essential to keep drainage paths and gutters clear of debris and obstructions. Maintaining proper drainage ensures effective water flow and prolongs the lifespan of the roofing system.

Cleaning and Debris Removal Techniques

Recommended Cleaning Agents and Methods

Clean TOM surfaces periodically using mild detergents or specialized cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that may degrade the membrane's integrity.

Handling Environmental Stains and Biological Growth

In cases where environmental stains or biological growth occur on the TOM surface, specialized cleaning methods should be employed. This can include using gentle cleaners, brushes, or environmentally friendly agents to eliminate stains or biological materials without damaging the membrane.

Conducting Repairs and Patching

Identifying Common Torch On Membrane Issues

Common issues that may require repairs in TOM include punctures, localized leaks, or small cracks. These should be promptly addressed to prevent further damage or water infiltration.

Application of Patching Materials and Techniques

Applying a torch on membrane patch or a sealant designed for TOM repairs provides an effective solution to address localized issues. Following manufacturer guidelines and utilizing appropriate materials ensures a durable and long-lasting repair.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To address common queries and concerns about TOM, here are some frequently asked questions:

Can Torch On Membrane be applied to any type of building?

Yes, TOM can be applied to various types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial structures. Its versatility and adaptability make it suitable for a wide range of architectural designs.

How long does the Torch On Membrane installation process take?

The installation time for TOM varies depending on factors such as the size of the roof, complexity of the design, and the expertise of the installers. On average, a professional installation team can complete the process within a few days.

Are there any environmental concerns associated with Torch On Membrane?

TOM is considered relatively environmentally friendly, as modern formulations often incorporate sustainable materials and meet strict industry standards. However, it is crucial to properly dispose of any waste or excess materials generated during installation or repairs.

Can Torch On Membrane withstand extreme weather conditions?

Yes, TOM is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, and high winds. Its robust composition and seamless application technique ensure superior weather resistance, providing reliable protection against harsh elements.

How often should Torch On Membrane be inspected and maintained?

Regular inspections should be conducted at least twice a year, ideally during spring and fall, to assess the condition of the TOM. Additionally, immediate maintenance and repairs should be performed whenever signs of degradation or damage are detected.


TOM is a highly effective roofing system that offers exceptional durability, seamless waterproofing, energy efficiency, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. By following proper installation techniques, conducting regular maintenance, and addressing repairs promptly, the lifespan and performance of the TOM can be maximized. As future trends and innovations continue to shape the roofing industry, advancements in TOM technology are anticipated, further improving its capabilities and expanding its applications.

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